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Mahadji Shinde
Meherban Shrimant Sardar Shinde Bahadur
Naib Vakil-i-Mutlaq
Maharajah of Gwalior
Mahadaji Shinde by James Wales c.1792
Raja of Gwalior
Reign18 January 1768 — 12 February 1794
Coronation18 January 1768
PredecessorManaji Rao Shinde
SuccessorDaulat Rao Shinde
Naib Vakil of the Mughal Empire
Term1784 — 12 February 1794
EmperorShah Alam II
PredecessorMadhavrao II
SuccessorDaulat Rao Shinde
Born23 December 1730
Ujjain, Gwalior State, Maratha Confederacy
(modern-day Madhya Pradesh, India)
Died12 February 1794(1794-02-12) (aged 63)
Wanawadi, Pune, Maratha Confederacy
(modern-day Maharashtra, India)
IssueBala Bai
Chimna Bai
Shrimant Madho (Madhoji) Rao Shinde
FatherRanoji Rao Shinde
MotherChima Bai
Military career
Service/branch Maratha Army
RankSar-i-Naubat / Senapati
UnitMaratha Infantry
Maratha Cavalry
Maratha Artillery
Pindaris (irregular)
See list
SignatureMahadji Shinde's signature

Mahadaji Shinde (23 December 1730 – 12 February 1794), later known as Mahadji Scindia or Madhava Rao Scindia,[2] was a Maratha statesman and general who served as the Raja of Gwalior from 1768 to 1794. He was the fifth and the youngest son of Ranoji Rao Scindia, the founder of the Scindia dynasty. He is reputed for having restored the Maratha rule over North India and for modernizing his army.[3]

Mahadji was instrumental in resurrecting Maratha power in North India after the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, and rose to become a trusted lieutenant of the Peshwa, leader of the Maratha Confederacy . Along with Madhavrao I and Nana Fadnavis, he was one of the three pillars of Maratha Resurrection. During his reign, Gwalior became the leading state in the Maratha Confederacy and one of the foremost military powers in India. After accompanying Shah Alam II to Delhi in 1771, he restored the Mughal Empire in Delhi and became the Naib Vakil-i-Mutlaq (Deputy Regent of the Empire).[4] Mahadji Shinde's principal advisors were all Shenvis.[5]

Mahadji Shinde Fought about 50 Battles In His Lifetime against various opponents. He defeated the Jats of Mathura and during 1772-73 Pashtun Rohillas in Rohilkhand and captured Najibabad. His role during the First Anglo-Maratha War was greatest from the Maratha side since he defeated the British in the Battle of Wadgaon which resulted in the Treaty of Wadgaon[6] and then again in Central India, single handed, which resulted in the Treaty of Salbai in 1782, where he mediated between the Peshwa and the British.

Battles in Rohilkhand

Sindia by Robert Mabon c.1798

The Marathas invaded Rohilkhand to retaliate against the Rohillas' participation in the Panipat war. The Marathas under the leadership of Mahadji Shinde entered the land of Sardar Najib-ud-Daula which was held by his son Zabita Khan after the sardar's death. Zabita Khan initially resisted the attack with Sayyid Khan and Saadat Khan behaving with gallantry, but was eventually defeated with the death of Saadat Khan by the Marathas and was forced to flee to the camp of Shuja-ud-Daula and his country was ravaged by Marathas.[7] Mahadji Shinde captured the family of Zabita Khan, desecrated the grave of Najib ad-Dawlah and looted his fort.[8] With the fleeing of the Rohillas, the rest of the country was burnt, with the exception of the city of Amroha, which was defended by some thousands of Amrohi Sayyid tribes.[9] The Rohillas who could offer no resistance fled to the Terai whence the remaining Sardar Hafiz Rahmat Khan Barech sought assistance in an agreement formed with the Nawab of Oudh, Shuja-ud-Daula, by which the Rohillas agreed to pay four million rupees in return for military help against the Marathas. Hafiz Rehmat, abhoring unnecessary violence unlike the outlook of his fellow Rohillas such as Ali Muhammad and Najib Khan, prided himself on his role as a political mediator and sought the alliance with Awadh to keep the Marathas out of Rohilkhand. He bound himself to pay on behalf of the Rohillas. However, after he refused to pay, Oudh attacked the Rohillas.[10][11]

First Anglo Maratha War (1775–1782)

Main article: First Anglo-Maratha War

A mural depicting the British surrender during the First Anglo-Maratha War. The mural is a part of the Victory Memorial (Vijay Stambh) located at Vadgaon Maval (Off NH-4, Malinagar, Vadgaon Maval, Pune).

After the defeats of the able British generals, Goddard and Murre in Konkan and Central India, respectively, Warren Hastings was forced to accept a fresh treaty, known as the Treaty of Salbai, recognizing the terms of the Marathas, which were to recognize Sawai Madhavrao as the Peshwa and grant Raghunathrao a pension.[12] The treaty also forced the British to evacuate and return to Shinde all his territories west of the Ganges. A resident, Mr. David Anderson (1750-1825), of St. Germains[13] (who had negotiated the treaty) was at the same time appointed to Mahadji's court.

In 1787, Mahadji attempted to invade Rajputana but he was repulsed by the Rajput armies at Lalsot. However, he regrouped his forces and in 1790, he avenged his defeat by crushing the Rajput kingdoms of Jodhpur and Jaipur in the battles of Patan and Merta, thus capturing all of Rajputana.[14]

Following the Second Anglo-Maratha War in 1806, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington drafted a treaty granting independence to the Sikh clans east of the Sutlej River in exchange for their allegiance to the British General Gerard Lake acting on his dispatch.[11][15] At the conclusion of the war, the frontier of British India was extended to the Yamuna.

Relations with the Mughals

Shah Alam II spent six years in the Allahabad fort and after the capture of Delhi in 1771 by the Marathas, left for his capital under their protection.[16] He was escorted to Delhi by Mahadaji Shinde and left Allahabad in May 1771. During their short stay, Marathas constructed two temples in the Allahabad city, one of them being the famous Alopi Devi Mandir. After reaching Delhi in January 1772 and realising the Maratha intent of territorial encroachment, however, Shah Alam ordered his general Najaf Khan to drive them out. In retaliation, Tukoji Rao Holkar and Visaji Krushna Biniwale attacked Delhi and defeated Mughal forces in 1772. The Marathas were granted an imperial sanad for Kora and Allahabad. They turned their attention to Oudh to gain these two territories. Shuja was however, unwilling to give them up and made appeals to the English and the Marathas did not fare well at the Battle of Ramghat.[17]The Maratha and British armies fought in Ram Ghat, but the sudden demise of the Peshwa and the civil war in Pune to choose the next Peshwa forced the Marathas to retreat.[18]

Mahadji Sindhia was deputed the Vakil-i-Mutlaq (Regent of the empire) of Mughal affairs in 1784.[19][20]

The Maratha-Sikh treaty in 1785 made the small Cis-Sutlej states, autonomous protectorate of the Scindia Dynasty of the Maratha Confederacy ,[21] as Mahadji Sindhia was deputed the Vakil-i-Mutlaq (Regent of the empire) of Mughal affairs in 1784.[22][23]

Later years (1789-92)

Shinde Chhatri, Wanawdi, Pune: A memorial dedicated to Mahadji Shinde

In 1788, Isma'il Beg, a Persian who served as a general in the Mughal army along with a few hundred Mughal-Rohilla troops led a large-scale revolt against the Marathas, who dominated North India at the time. The reason for this revolt is unknown but most suspect that he was trying to resurrect the Islamic glory in North India and depose the Hindu Marathas. However, the revolt was immediately crushed and Isma'il Beg was defeated and executed by the Scindian armies. Thereafter, a Rohilla warlord named Ghulam Qadir, descendant of the infamously treacherous Najib-ud-Daualh and an ally of Isma'il Beg, captured Delhi, capital of the Mughals and deposed and blinded the Mughal emperor Shah Alam II, placing a puppet on the imperial throne. He unleashed untold atrocities on the royal family and common populace, slaughtering thousands and looting about 22 Crores. However on 2 October 1788, Mahadji Scindia, upon hearing this news, quickly re-assembled his army and captured Delhi, torturing and eventually killing Ghulam Qadir and restoring Shah Alam II to the throne.[24][25][26]

He worked with the English during the revolt of 1781 and played an important role in capturing Maharaja Chait Singh of Benares and crushing the revolt [27]

Another achievement of Mahadji was his victory over the Nizam of Hyderabad.[citation needed]

After the making peace with Tipu Sultan of Mysore in 1792, Mahadji is said to have exerted his influence to prevent the completion of an alliance between the British, the Nizam of Hyderabad, and the Peshwa against Tipu.[citation needed]


Mahadaji Scindia entertaining British officers with a nautch

Shinde has a total of nine wives including:

Death and legacy

After the Battle of Lakheri, Mahadji was now at the zenith of his power, when he died, at his military camp at Wanavdi near Pune on 12 February 1794. He left no male heir, and was succeeded by Daulat Rao Scindia.

Keeney, the English biographer of Mahadaji Shinde, has described Mahadaji as the greatest man in India in the 18th century.[28] Mahadaji Shinde's role was instrumental in establishing Maratha supremacy over North India.

Shinde Chhatri, located in Wanawadi, in Pune is a memorial dedicated to Mahadji Shinde. It is a hall that marks the spot of Mahadji Shinde's cremation on 12 February 1794. The three storied memorial in Rajput architectural style, is one of the most significant landmarks in the city.

In popular culture

See also


  1. ^ Page 334, A Comprehensive History of Medieval India: Twelfth to the Mid-Eighteenth Century, By Salma Ahmed Farooqui, Publisher: Pearson Education India, 2011, ISBN 8131732029
  2. ^ The title of his 1905 biography in the Rulers of India series - Wikisource transcription project
  3. ^ Rathod, NG (1994). The Great Maratha (1 ed.). Sarup & Sons. ISBN 9788185431529.
  4. '^ Vakil-i-Mutlaq (Regent of the Empire)
  5. ^ Rathod, N. G. (1994). The Great Maratha Mahadaji Shinde - N. G. Rathod - Google Books. Sarup & Sons. ISBN 9788185431529. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  6. ^ Athale, Colonel Anil A (12 January 2018). "How a Maratha general defeated the British". Rediff News.
  7. ^ Edwin Thomas Atkinson (1875). Statistical, Descriptive and Historical Account of the North-western Provinces of India: Meerut division. 1875-76. p. 88.
  8. ^ The Great Maratha Mahadji Scindia by N. G. Rathod p.8-9
  9. ^ Poonam Sagar (1993). Maratha Policy Towards Northern India. Meenakshi Prakashan. p. 158.
  10. ^ Jos J. L. Gommans (1995). The Rise of the Indo-Afghan Empire: C. 1710-1780. Brill. p. 178.
  11. ^ a b Wellesley, Arthur (1837). The Despatches, Minutes, and Correspondance, of the Marquess Wellesley, K. G. During His Administration in India. pp. 264–267.
  12. ^ Rathod, N.G. The Great Maratha (1 ed.). Swarup & Sons. pp. 20–27.
  13. ^ Burkes Landed Gentry: Anderson of Northfield
  14. ^ Chaurasia, R. S. (2004). History Of The Marathas - R.S. Chaurasia - Google Books. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. ISBN 9788126903948. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  15. ^ Wellesley, Arthur (1859). Supplementary Despatches and Memoranda of Field Marshal Arthur, Duke of Wellington, K. G.: India, 1797-1805. Vol. I. pp. 269–279, 319. "ART VI Scindiah to renounce all claims the Seik chiefs or territories" (p.318)
  16. ^ A. C. Banerjee; D. K. Ghose, eds. (1978). A Comprehensive History of India: Volume Nine (1712–1772). Indian History Congress, Orient Longman. pp. 60–61.
  17. ^ Sailendra Nath Sen (1998). Anglo-Maratha relations during the administration of Warren Hastings 1772–1785, Volume 1. Popular Prakashan. pp. 7–8. ISBN 9788171545780.
  18. ^ Chaurasia, Radhey Shyam (1947). History of Modern India: 1707 A.D. up to 2000 A.D.
  19. ^ Ahmed, Farooqui Salma (2011). A Comprehensive History of Medieval India: From Twelfth to the Mid ... - Farooqui Salma Ahmed, Salma Ahmed Farooqui - Google Books. Pearson Education India. ISBN 9788131732021. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  20. ^ Chaurasia, R. S. (2004). History of the Marathas. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p. 13. ISBN 9788126903948.
  21. ^ Sen, Sailendra Nath (2010). An Advanced History of Modern India. ISBN 9780230328853. By Mahadji Shinde's treaty of 1785 with the Sikhs, Maratha influence had been established over the divided Cis-Sutlej states. But at the end of the second Maratha war in 1806 that influence had been pass over to the British.
  22. ^ Ahmed, Farooqui Salma (2011). A Comprehensive History of Medieval India: From Twelfth to the Mid ... - Farooqui Salma Ahmed, Salma Ahmed Farooqui - Google Books. Pearson Education India. ISBN 9788131732021. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  23. ^ Chaurasia, R. S. (2004). History of the Marathas. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p. 13. ISBN 9788126903948.
  24. ^ Sarkar 1952, p. 323.
  25. ^ Malik 1982, p. 565.
  26. ^ Sarkar 1952, pp. 329–330.
  27. ^ Sampurnanand, Dr. चेतसिंह और काशी निवासियों का अंग्रेजों से युद्ध. Varanasi+Delhi: नागरीप्रचारिणी सभा.
  28. ^ Page 156, The Great Maratha Mahadaji Scindia, By N. G. Rathod, Publisher: Sarup & Sons, 1994, ISBN 8185431523, 9788185431529

Further reading

Mahadaji Shinde Scindia Dynasty Regnal titles Preceded byManaji Rao Scindia Maharaja of Gwalior 1768–1794 Succeeded byDaulat Rao Scindia